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Can you wash your vagina with hot water?

Are you using hot water to wash your vagina during winter season? According to a gynaecologist, washing vagina with hot water may cause these 5 problems.
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Avoid using hot water to clean your vagina! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 11 Jan 2024, 07:55 pm IST
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Conversations surrounding vaginal care often shroud themselves in societal taboos. This gives birth to myths and misconceptions. With the onset of winter, a common practise emerges where women use hot water to clean the vagina. But is it safe to use hot water to wash the vagina? Well, according to a gynaecologist, washing the vagina with hot water may pose risks to vaginal health as it can impact the delicate balance of vaginal well-being.

Is cleaning your vagina with hot water a good idea?

The vagina is a self-cleaning organ and you don’t need to clean it. But if you are one of those women who still want to clean her vagina, avoid using hot water. Health Shots spoke to Dr Teji Dawane, a senior consultant, obstetrician, and gynaecologist, who says that cleaning the vagina with hot water is a wrong practise which can increase the risk of vaginal infections as well.

“Warm water is generally considered safe and can help in maintaining cleanliness, especially during menstruation or after sexual activity. Furthermore, warm water can prevent the growth of some of the bad bacteria, provide comfort, and may ease muscle tension, promoting relaxation,” adds the expert.

5 side effects of washing vagina with hot water

1. May disturb pH balance

Hot water can disrupt the delicate pH balance of the vagina. The vagina is naturally acidic, maintaining a pH level between 3.8 and 4.5 to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Excessive use of hot water can alter this balance, leading to infections such as bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections.

Vaginal tears are common
Avoid using hot water to clean your vagina. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Irritation and dryness

Dr Dawane says, “Hot water can strip away the natural oils and moisture present in the vaginal area. This can lead to dryness, itching, and irritation, making the tissues more vulnerable to tears.” Dryness may also cause discomfort during intercourse and increase the risk of developing yeast infections.

Also read: Scared of using a vaginal wash? Try these home hacks for a healthy vulva

3. Increased sensitivity

Exposing the vaginal area to hot water frequently may lead to increased sensitivity. The tissues may become more susceptible to irritation from soaps, cleansers, or other products used with hot water. This heightened sensitivity can result in redness, itching, and overall discomfort.

4. Risk of burns

“If not used cautiously, hot water can cause burns to the delicate skin around the vaginal area,” warns Dr Dawane. The genital tissues are particularly sensitive, and exposure to hot water that exceeds a safe temperature can cause burns, leading to pain and discomfort.

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5. Exacerbate existing conditions

For individuals with pre-existing conditions such as vulvovaginitis or inflammatory disorders, washing with hot water can exacerbate symptoms. The heat may aggravate inflammation and discomfort, making it crucial to avoid using hot water.

Woman covering her private area
Vaginal odour can be influenced by factors such as pH levels, infections, or other underlying conditions. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What is the right way to wash the vagina?

It is important to note that the vagina is self-cleaning organ, and vaginal douching or using harsh soaps can disrupt its natural balance. For external hygiene, follow these tips:

1. Use warm or lukewarm water instead of hot water when cleaning your vagina to avoid disturbing the pH balance and causing irritation.
2. Refrain from inserting anything into your vagina, as it is a canal meant for external cleansing only.
3. Gently wash the external genital area with fragrance-free soap using your fingers, or simply use water. Avoid inserting fingers into the vagina.
4. You can also clean around your bum because that’s important but avoid transferring your hand from the back to the front.
5. Once done, wipe from front to back, and always wipe after using the toilet to prevent bacterial spread.
6. During your shower, rinse the genital area with lukewarm water.
7. Avoid douching, as it can disrupt the natural pH balance, and opt for breathable cotton underwear to maintain a healthy environment.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you wash your vagina!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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